When A 4th Grader Gets Church Mission

As we were closing up the church at the conclusion of ministry programming last Sunday night, an energetic fourth grade girl starting talking to me about her “living relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Music to my ears.

See, in the fall of 2011 — after a year of talking, emoting, dreaming, and praying — we arrived at the mission statement for Good Shepherd:  inviting all people into a living relationship with Jesus Christ.

We project it.  We announce it.  It’s on all our print and digital media.  I throw it into many sermons and most conversations.  We baptize into it.  In short, we saturate this church with that mission statement.

And here’s the surprising reason all that is so vital to me personally:  although I am a super disciplined person (many would call it OCD), I am an undisciplined leader.  So before the fall of 2011, I would careen from emphasis to emphasis, from project to project, from sermon to sermon . . . and yet there was with no grand unifying theme  behind them all.

Whatever wins we had were disconnected from those that preceded and those that followed. 

Yet since 2011 and the clarity the new mission statement has provided, my discipline as a leader now approaches my discipline as a person.

So much so that 4th grade girls give voice to the mission of the church.

Words make worlds, and I like the world we’re making at Good Shepherd.